Scotland's Economy

HM, Mr Clooney and the Scottish Business Pledge

November 24, 2015 by No Comments | Category Economy, Employment, Event

I doubt that I’ll ever again have cause to mention Harper Macleod and George Clooney in the same sentence. The reason I can is that my firm was fortunate enough to win the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award at last week’s Scottish Business Awards – whose guest speaker brought a dash of Clooney-mania to the country.

Why is this of any note for Scotland’s Economy Blog, you may ask. Well, by only three degrees of separation, the award linked Mr Clooney with the Scottish Business Pledge.

Earlier this year, Harper Macleod met all nine elements of the Pledge agreement committing businesses to follow fair and progressive practices. It was an invaluable exercise in benchmarking the firm’s CSR programme, HM Community, which has been an important part of our development over the past 10 years.

In turn, that was followed by our Scottish Business Awards submission and ultimately a date with George (okay, Rob Brydon was actually on stage as we collected the award in front of more than 2000 of Scotland’s business leaders… but he does a mean Clooney impression.)

Almost a decade ago, we established HM Community to ensure that we could effectively identify, monitor and measure our CSR activities and ensure that they were aligned to our values and CSR principles. We’ve worked hard to evolve a comprehensive programme allowing us to make a positive impact on the environment, community and society.

HM Community addresses the particular needs of our colleagues, the legal & business community and society as a whole. We’ve built a positive business culture and effective partnerships that have delivered for all of our stakeholder group. Within those have been some memorable and rewarding highlights – such as supporting Scotland’s leading wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn as she went from Glasgow 2014 to World Championship success, or the partnerships which have seen us support the likes of ScotEDGE and Entrepreneurial Spark in their work with the next generation of innovators.

Our CSR Committee evaluates and monitors all our activities on an ongoing basis, benchmarking our activities against independent standards. The launch of the Scottish Business Pledge, which incorporated the Living Wage commitment we had already met, was a perfect fit with HM Community and the accreditation process provided an opportunity to review all our CSR activities against its elements.

We identified where we already met the Pledge requirements, where we could enhance our existing programme and how to continue to focus on delivering a holistic CSR strategy that represented the interests of all our people and communities. Following this, the submission to the Scottish Business Awards was straightforward, though winning the award was a genuine (and very pleasant) surprise.

When we signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This thriving legal firm provides an excellent example of the way that an ambitious, fair and inclusive approach to business leads to greater growth and innovation.”

Meeting all the elements of the Pledge and winning the CSR award were both great achievements for the firm, however, the point of this blog is not to congratulate ourselves on winning an award. It’s simply to recognise that putting fairness, equality, opportunity, innovation and social responsibility at the heart of what you do makes sound business sense.

We have made it fundamental to our strategy for achieving sustainable growth in terms of both our stakeholders and business. That’s what the Scottish Business Pledge is all about, and we’d encourage anyone thinking about signing up to go for it.

And if George is ever thinking of making Ocean’s 14, there are a few of the team at Harper Macleod who’d be happy to join his gang.


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